Friday, December 7, 2007

Thank You, C-64

Commodore 64 still loved after all these years

If it wasn't for the Commodore 64, who knows how my life would have unfolded so far.

The C64, and its predecessor, the Commodore PET were the first computers I ever used and got me hooked.

Turtle Graphics was the first programming language syntax I ever used. It taught me all about the now much maligned GOTO, its sibling, GOSUB, along with the the components of structured programming, FOR..NEXT, DO..WHILE / UNTIL, IF..THEN..ELSE and all the rest.

***WARNING*** Obligatory old-timer alert
When I was a young programmer, we used audio cassette tapes for data storage. Both sides!

There was no fancy GIF or JPG background wallpaper images, it was black. "Take it to void and back it off a skosh"

Fonts? Fonts?!? There were no fonts, just letters and numbers and some, but not all, of the symbols. And they came in one fabulous color, green. Our turtles' graphics were simple * *** ** * *** And we liked it.

We now return you to your regular blog, already in progress.

Those building blocks, which started in elementary school, expanded through junior high, took a break from programming through high school, returned with a vengenance in my college Freshman year. Pascal was the language of choice in the early 90's and was brand new to me. While everyone else was struggling with both the concept of tracing program variables through loops, as well as the syntax of this new language, I was breezing through both. I could loop in my sleep (which was good, because this was one of the last early morning classes I scheduled) and hey, if you can master the syntax for English and French, (with all of their own exceptions and oddities), a few semicolons and strong variable typing wasn't going to phase me. And while the nefarious cousins, memory pointers and data structures, would at times give me grief, they were always just a logic puzzle waiting to be solved.

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